I’ve had a select number of near-death experiences; most of them car accidents, and one time in second grade when I thought it’d be really sweet to do a triple-body-swing over the monkey bar but ate shit instead. I survived the accident only to be nearly-stabbed nineteen years later in the skreets of San Diego.
My boyfriend and I were visiting from L.A a couple years ago and planned to go out separately. We kinda have an unspoken agreement to almost never go out with friends together because it feels like a tug-o-war of attention, plus you can’t get hyphy with your squad without pissing off your partner. But this night something strange must have been in the salty bay water because we thought, why not? My sister and I met up with him and his best friend in North Park, and we all started the night just fine. Shots, beers, dance, shots, beers, dance. The guys hung out by the bar and me and my sister were in the far corner of the dance floor interchanging our Electric Slide and Vogue moves. It was great.
2 AM was around the corner, and my sister and I were exhausted from all of the ass shaking. We joined my boyfriend at bar who was talking to some guy about sports and I wiggled around in a severely tipsy state. The DJ made an announcement about last call and wrapping it up, so I tapped on my boyfriend’s shoulder to drunkenly reiterate what he already knew. “Hey,” I whispered. “Are you ready to go?” The music was loud and he hadn’t heard me, so he was still in his conversation. “HEY!” I now shrieked. “It’s – it’s almost 2am, man. Time ta go. Are you – (pause) are you ready, er?” He glanced at me over his shoulder. “Yeah, almost” he said, and kept talking with the guy at the bar. I waited a couple more minutes, but I was growing impatient. “Dude, we gotta go!” I hollered. “It’s fine, there’s still time” he softly spoke. I waited maybe another 60 seconds. “WHY ARE YOU IGNORING ME?” I shrieked. Finally, my need for attention consumed me and I couldn’t hold it in.
We got together within a year of a painful breakup for me, with another painful breakup before that. All-in-all, I hadn’t been in a healthy relationship before I met him. I was always used to a good fight and a great cry. It was always drama with me, because that’s all that I knew how to do. You’d think that after two years I would get the hang of not having a reason to go bat shit crazy, but the need was still there. Deep down inside, I still had many things to prove. I was still very much in need for the heart breaking malicious arguments I was used to because hey, that means they love you right? And to be honest, selfishness devoured me in that moment. I had lost a couple of dress sizes and I was looking good, but I wanted to feel like it every waking moment. It wasn’t enough that I had already been complimented earlier that night, I needed to be coddled for everyone to see.
I took one big deep, intoxicated breath and and screamed into their discussion with fury. “IS IT BECAUSE YOU’RE GAY?” Even in the cramped, noise-filled bar – it was silent. The stranger I had accused of hitting on my boyfriend froze with eyes wide open. My boyfriend, body language shifted, turned to me and calmly replied. “Shanyn,” he said. “Think about what you’re saying.”
“Oh, I am.” I scoffed. “- And I think you’re gay. That’s why you’re choosing to ignore me and talk to a guy. I can’t believe it!”
“I’m going to give you another chance before I take this seriously,” still softly speaking. “Are you accusing me of this because you’re drunk or are you genuinely saying this?” I knew I could have saved myself at this point, but I chose suicide instead. “I’m serious. You’re gay.”
He sighed and took a step back. “Okay, Shanyn. This is ridiculous. I’m not getting into this with you, so if you want to act crazy and call me gay” he taunted,”-then I’m gay.”
“I KNEW IT!” I shouted. (I didn’t know it. I had nowhere to go but with this insane, pointless argument because that’s what I got myself into). “I KNEW YOU WERE GAY, WHY HAVE YOU LED ME ON THIS WHOLE TIME?” I suggested tears. “Oh my god,” he started to rise with frustration. “Are you seriously doing this right now? Because I won’t. I don’t have patience for this. If you want to calm down and apologize, I’ll be outside. If you don’t, I’ll see you later.” He walked outside with his friend, and I stood there with my sister who didn’t even know where to begin.
Of course as any respectable crazy girlfriend would do, I followed him outside to keep the fire going. “C’mon Shanyn,” his friend stepped in. “You know he’s not gay, I know for sure he’s not, we all know he definitely isn’t.” I knew he was right, but I was drunk. I was immature. I was spiteful for no reason at all. “Since you’re gay” I slurred, “I guess I’m moving out. I can’t do this anymore.” Finally, I broke his honorable patience – the button I was trying to push all along. “You know what?” his voice rising. “You should. Because if after two years you choose to flip the script and behave like someone else to risk our relationship – this isn’t going to work. I won’t put up with it. It makes me disappointed that you’re doing this.” He walked off into the night, and there I was: a hole in my heart I had cut myself, standing there with my sister who couldn’t even and my boyfriend’s best friend who couldn’t even, even more.
Despite having wronged his buddy, my boyfriend’s best friend still showcased his gentlemanly character and offered to walk my sister and I back to our car. Still raging, I yapped and yapped as we turned the corner to find a shabby looking malnourished crack head standing in the dimmed light of the street lamp. “HEY!” he terrifyingly grunted to the guy in our group. “You tha guy who jacked my shit at the store?” Having been there all night with us, I knew for a fact that he was not the guy who jacked that guy’s shit at the store earlier, so we all side-eyed each other with a fear; he was obviously high as hell. “Nah, man” my friend replied. The grungy crack head stepped closer to us, about a foot away now, snarling. With a closer view, he had what looked like blood or old hot sauce splattered on his zip-up jacket. “Liar! You stole my shit! You bitch!” He pulled out a knife and my heart dropped. Leaning towards us, time stopped for a moment and I had painfully regretted the whole night. I was about to get my friends stabbed to death all because I was being a jealous, selfish, extremely immature bitch – and that’s not something worth dying for.
We ran. Our friend took off in one direction, my sister and I the other. My legs have never moved so fast, we ran hard and desperately – farther than where our car was. Finally we stopped and I called my friend to make sure he wasn’t murdered. He wasn’t. I went home with my sister and even with all of the adrenaline, I passed out with a face full of tears.
The next day my boyfriend and I had made up. I was profusely apologetic (still am) to both him and his friend whom almost got shanked on account of my bad behavior (I’m still apologizing for that) and I haven’t been able to fully forgive myself since.
Having replayed that night thousands of times in my head, I have outgrown the childish need for drama through humility. I have learned that with ill intention comes ill results. It’s a way of the universe. I wanted the attention, and so I got it. This is a lesson that never fails. Be weary. For every time you are looking for trouble – it will find you first, knife in hand.
And if there’s anything else to gain from my experience; leave your partner at home and just go out with your friends instead.